Many people, even seasoned performers, get nervous before an audition. As a director, I actually enjoy the process. Nobody’s judging me and I get to see lots of theater friends, old and new. I get to see the beginning of the vision coming together as I put faces with roles. It can be fun, at least until I have to make the very difficult calls about who is in and who is out. I know that I am going to disappoint many people, and there’s just no way around it. I don’t like that part at all.
I once had a woman call me, wondering why she wasn’t cast when she didn’t see anyone else at auditions who she thought did better than she did. She wanted answers. She started singing to me on the phone. It was … really awkward.
I’ve had people come up to me immediately after an audition and ask what they could have done better. I appreciate the desire to improve and to receive feedback, but sometimes my honest answer would be - be older, or be taller, or be a different physical type – suggestions that are not really helpful to them. If you aren’t cast, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve done something wrong, but it may be that you just weren’t what the director was looking for, in ways that may be totally beyond your control.
You shouldn’t automatically expect that the director is locked into casting the closest clone to the Broadway version of that character. Very few roles are so specific that there isn’t creative leeway. However, if you are far outside the typical type for a role, or don’t bring all the specific skills desired, be prepared to bring something very fresh and interesting to your audition to spark the director’s interest. I have seen that happen and been pleasantly surprised, finding myself willing to go in a new direction.
In community theater, there are often compromises made, with few triple threats in the amateur world. The director decides which talents are most important to the role. Sometimes it won’t be the best dancer or the best actor, or even the best singer, who gets cast, much to the frustration of the best dancers and actors! The point here is not that all directors are awful and capricious (a topic for another day), but that even if you think you are perfect for a role, the director simply may not agree. Try not to take it personally – and try not to take it out on the director!